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Hike to the Hollywood Sign to Celebrate Its Centennial 

Millions of people visit Los Angeles each year to see the Hollywood sign, among other sites. Since its construction a century ago, it’s become one of those iconic things people gravitate towards, like New York’s Statue of Liberty or Paris’s Eiffel Tower. That’s why, in honor of its 100-year anniversary, we put together a list of routes for a hike to the Hollywood sign.  

The Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood sign was erected in 1923 as an advertisement for a new housing development, dubbed “Hollywoodland,” which was how the original sign read. Initially, the developers only planned for it to be there for a year, but due to the rapid growth of the film industry, the sign became a cultural and economic landmark.

Throughout its history, the sign has been repaired and rebuilt several times, but in 1973, the sign was officially declared a historical monument. Today, the 45-foot-tall letters spelling HOLLYWOOD that sit atop Mount Lee in Griffith Park can be seen throughout Los Angeles from up to 15 miles away. 

According to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the sign attracts nearly 50 million visitors annually from around the world. While the accuracy of that figure is unclear, what is known is there are several popular routes to reach the Hollywood sign. 

Hollywood Sign Hikes

For this list, we looked at the trails listed on the websites like AllTrails, Hikes Peak, and The Hiking Guy, and we also considered guidance from the Hollywood Sign Trust, a nonprofit organized by the state of California to preserve the sign’s “symbolic role as the beacon of the entertainment industry.” With that said, we focused on routes that take you through public land rather than private property and directly to the sign. 

hollywood sign
Source: Facebook/Hollywood Sign Trust

Canyon Drive

With a six-mile round trip, the Canyon Drive trail is a long hike to the summit, but it’s also more of a traditional hike, bringing you through a natural area rather than a primarily paved residential area. Yet, it’s also well-marked and maintained. Although it’s considered “moderately” challenging, those who make the hike say the hardest parts are when you hit an asphalt hill where it gains a lot of elevation and the lack of shade. 

  • Address: 3200 Canyon Drive
  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Elevation: 1,117 feet
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Dogs allowed with a leash

​​Griffith Park Hollywood Sign Trail

As the name implies, the Griffith Park Hollywood Sign Trail should be the most direct, but many people who make the hike say it’s not very well marked. Also, at 8.7 miles overall with nearly 2,000 feet of elevation, cliffs, and little shade, it’s actually a pretty tough hike. Many say this hike is more about the challenge than the views.  

  • Distance: 8.7 miles
  • Elevation: 1,906 feet
  • Time: 4.5 hours
  • Dogs allowed with a leash

Brush Canyon Trail

The Brush Canyon Trail starts in the same area as the Canyon Drive trail, but it’s almost 1.5 miles shorter. Although there is about 1,000 feet of elevation gain, most of it’s in the first mile and then it flattens out and, of course, it’s downhill on the way back. 

  • Distance: 4.7 miles
  • Elevation: 1,000 feet
  • Time: 2.5 hours
  • Dogs allowed with a leash
hollywood sign
Source: Facebook/Hollywood Sign Trust

For the Next Century

In June, local media reported that the Hollywood sign had garnered so much attention from visitors that the city had to set up temporary fencing to prevent people from parking and stopping in residential areas just to get a glimpse of the sign.

In response, the LA city council filed bills to help improve both safety and accessibility to the sign as more and more people are trying to see it.

Additionally, the Hollywood Sign Trust announced plans in January to open a visitor center to serve as a sort of museum for the iconic sign. Jeff Zarrinnam, chair of the organization, explained those visiting the center will learn about the sign’s “fascinating” history.  

“Over the years, visitors and locals have expressed great interest in a ‘close-up’ experience where they can learn more about the roots of the Hollywood Sign, its legendary stories, and the epic hopes and dreams the Sign continues to inspire,” Zarrinnam said. 

Although there are no dates scheduled for completing the project, Zarriannam said: “We are thrilled to assist in bringing the Sign into its next 100 years with this invaluable and exciting new resource and look forward to shining a spotlight on the storied history of the Hollywood Sign.”

Have you hiked to the Hollywood sign?

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